How Data Visualization Tools Optimize Drug Discovery

Research labs equipped with the right tools and dashboards will have greater success in meeting drug discovery goals.

Michael Riener
President and CEO
RCH Solutions

Research scientists in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries are increasingly turning towards state-of-the-art data visualization tools to leverage insights into their fields.

Up until recently, the vast majority of research scientists and Bio-IT professionals thought of data visualization purely as a presentation tool. Researchers tasked with justifying scientific funding to non-technical stakeholders would rely on a wide array of charts, graphs, and interactive software to communicate their arguments.

However, the immense growth in the volume of data generated by research processes has changed the landscape of data analytics in the laboratory. Scientists are using state-of-the-art visualization tools to gain deeper insights into the interplay of complex parameters under study.

Bio-IT research firms that invest in the right data visualization tools enjoy a lasting competitive edge. The ability to quickly glean insight from large, complex datasets is a key value-driver for research firms dedicated to new drug development.

How Data Visualization Helps Bio-IT Teams Gain Insight

Imagine a flock of migrating birds flying in formation across the autumn sky. In an instance, it’s obvious which direction they are headed. The emergent patterns of nature offer insight that would be much harder to obtain by analyzing every bird as an individual data point in a complex formula.

Real-time access to diverse information sources is one of the most important benefits that modern technology can offer research scientists and Bio-IT teams. However, end-users often find themselves wading through a confusing web of data points and statistics. The greater the breadth and depth of the data under analysis, the greater the importance of an intuitive interface becomes. 

There is a clear need for drug discovery researchers to obtain new tools that make visualizing and analyzing data easier. As biomedical data become more diverse over time, this need will only grow in importance.

This is easy to see in drug discovery processes that involve the characterization of drug targets, small molecule leads, and their interactions. Immersive visualization and AI-powered deep learning algorithms can fundamentally change the way researchers approach molecular modeling and simulation. These are key steps to realizing the future of drug discovery,

The Limitations of Existing Software Tools

Browser-based tools like ProViz and JalView display the sequence alignments of proteins, drawing from massive external databases. JalView can generate a 3D protein folding structure using a purpose-built molecular modeling engine called JMOL. These are widely used tools within the biotech and pharmaceutical industry, but they have severe limitations.

Inaccessibility is one of the main complaints that scientists level at the developers behind these tools. While undoubtedly powerful, they don’t offer a user-friendly interface and typically demand deep technical IT knowledge to use correctly. Every moment a researcher spends solving an IT-related obstacle is a moment not spent fulfilling his or her core function – making new discoveries.

In many cases, researchers find themselves taking data from one software tool and manually inputting it into another software tool. This is a time-consuming, error-prone task that delivers no additional value to the research process.

Bio-IT experts can automate these manual data entry tasks by integrating disparate systems using APIs. The better integrated your laboratory’s data infrastructure is, the faster and more efficiently its scientists will be able to work towards new discoveries.

Every research organization has a unique inventory of software tools, physical equipment, and data-oriented workflows. There is a clear need to design and develop an efficient system to make all of those elements work together smoothly.

Deploy Data Visualization Solutions for Your Biotech/Pharma Research Team

The ideal data structure and framework for each research organization is unique. Finding the right tools, dashboards, and platforms is only the first step towards achieving state-of-the-art data processing capabilities. Research executives who partner with Bio-IT experts can take the lead in designing, developing, and implementing systems that fit their workflows perfectly.

Research scientists need efficient, well-organized data visualization tools more urgently than ever. 

Speak with a data expert about your software and hardware setup, and find out how you can cut waste and improve research outcomes for your entire team.

Get in touch with RCH Solutions

Learn how we can provide specialized instrumentation and application support to optimize your lab in support of your discovery goals.


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